SnellLogo SnellPics SnellBkg

The Newsletter of the Snell Memorial Foundation

November 27, 2013

This is the sixty-first of the Foundation's newsletters to the helmet manufacturing industry. The sixtieth was sent out in September, 2013. Comments and items for inclusion in subsequent issues are invited.

PDF version

In This Issue

Manufacturers’ Meeting

The next manufacturers meeting is currently planned to take place in October, 2014 in conjunction with the AIMExpo in Orlando, Florida. However, a special meeting purely to discuss issues for SA/K2015 is planned for this December 11, 2013, in Indianapolis. The auto racing community will gather there for the ICMS meeting and for the PRI/IMIS show; we hope that some of the helmet makers and experts in attendance will give us the benefit of their advice. Anyone interested should contact Ed Becker,, for details.


Snell M2015 Standard

Snell M2015 has been finalized. Although there are a few technical changes, it is essentially equivalent to M2010. In particular, the face shield penetration test remains as it was. Certification testing for M2015 is under way. Manufacturers are invited to submit samples of current and new helmet configurations for consideration. M2015 will take effect October 1, 2014 but units meeting requirements may be sold with M2010 labeling in advance of that date.


Snell SA/K2015

SA/K2015 is still in draft. The first draft proposed a number of advances in test requirements which elicited much response and a host of conflicting deas and counter-proposals. There are so many that he second draft is being delayed until we can sort hrough them; maybe at the special meeting in ndianapolis mentioned earlier in this newsletter.

When the next draft is ready, it should be all but final. And the final standard shall be ready shortly after the new year. SA/K2015 is planned to take effect on October 1, 2015, a full year after the effective date set for M2015.


New License Agreement

The License Agreement has been revised and now includes some additional clauses and sub licenses applying to subcontracting manufacturers as well as distributors who sell Snell certified helmet units under their own brand and model designations. This new Standard License Agreement will replace all those currently in effect. Copies will be prepared for all Snell certified helmet makers. We must have executed Licenses and all necessary sub licenses on file here before we can ship M2015 certification labels this next April or before we can ship any new orders for Snell certification labels after June 1, 2014.


Snell Helmet Model Names

The point of Snell certification is to identify helmets which meet Snell standards. For this reason, Snell demands that the brand/model names of certified helmets be distinctly different from the manufacturer’s non-Snell models. Although this had not been a problem until recently, we have been getting queries and complaints from riders in Europe. They have seen promotions and ads for Snell certified helmets posted by North American retailers on the internet but were disappointed when the helmets they purchased and took home turned out to be non-Snell configurations with the same name.

Snell is seeking a reasonable solution to this problem. Helmet makers with same named Snell and non-Snell configurations are encouraged to contact Ed Becker to discuss the scope of the problem and likely measures to resolve it.


Snell Safety Education Center

The helmet swap program conducted jointly by the Snell Safety Education Center, the Livermore Police Department and the California Highway Patrol appears to have been a success. A follow-up survey will be conducted to learn just what use is being made of these new helmets. The Center has secured another grant through California Office of Traffic Safety to continue the helmet exchange program in 2014. Snell has received several inquiries regarding similar helmet swap programs in other states. Hong Zhang is also working with UC Berkeley on a California statewide motorcycle crash data linking and analysis study.


Custom Fit Helmets

A new policy for certifying custom fit helmet configurations has been posted on the Snell web site. It differs from a previous custom fit policy proposal from late 2009. However, the point is, as always, to assure that these custom fit headgear will provide all the protection we demand of current, Snell certified helmets but with the minimum burden to the helmet maker.


HPE Laboratory

The HPE lab in England is seeking new quarters. Paul Walker has suspended testing operations for the interim. We all hope to see him back in business soon.


Low Velocity Impact Research

There has been much discussion of helmet performance in low severity impacts. Many in the industry think an advantage in injury reduction might be had by sacrificing some of a helmet’s high severity capability to increase shock attenuation in lower severity strikes.

Snell has completed a series of tests on Snell and non-Snell certified helmets which were donated by their manufacturers or purchased from distributors and retailers. Although this effort cannot answer the basic question of injury reduction, a statistical analysis of the results indicates that there is no significant difference in the low velocity impact response of Snell M2010/DOT helmets versus helmets qualified to DOT only. The same analysis also demonstrates that Snell certified helmets transmit substantially lower levels of shock in higher severity impact. Formal reports are in preparation and will be submitted for publication in scientific journals.


Contacting Snell

Snell Memorial Foundation, Inc.
3628 Madison Avenue, Suite 11
North Highlands, CA 95660
Phone: 916-331-5073; Fax: 916-331-0359; Email:
Testing: Steve Johnson
Decals: Bonnie Adams
Education: Hong Zhang
All Other: Ed Becker

Editor: Hong Zhang, Senior Program director